Snow Shoveling and Back Pain

As winter progresses and the snow begins to fall, I want to help you prevent common injuries associated with snow shoveling.

Follow these snow-shoveling guidelines to avoid hurting your neck and back:

Try to shovel the snow when there is only a little snow on the ground, no more than two to four inches. It will be looser and lighter. You will, of course, have to shovel more often during a snowstorm, but this is healthier for your neck and back than is lifting heavy snow.

Never shovel hard-packed, partially frozen snow. Only shovel loose snow. Hard-packed snow, or frozen snow, is too heavy. Breaking it loose, then lifting a heavily loaded shovel will hurt your neck, shoulder and back muscles.

Push the snow to the side of a walkway or driveway, rather than shoveling the snow.

Make sure your shovel is as sharp as a knife.

Use an ergonomically correct shovel with a handle on it.

Place one hand mid-shaft for easier shoveling.

Shovel only small amounts. Large amounts are too heavy and can strain your muscles.

Don’t reach or stretch. Move closer to the area you are shoveling.

Keep the loaded shovel as close to your body as possible.

Bend at the knees and hips, keeping your back and neck straight.

Use you thigh as a fulcrum (teeter-totter) for tough shoveling.

Don’t twist your neck while lifting the contents of the shovel.

Alternate your hands and feet frequently.

Only throw the snow you are shoveling a short distance from your body. The further you throw the snow, the more you will strain your neck muscles.

Take frequent breaks to rest your muscles.

If you have any neck or low back pain, please call us at 516-829-8099 and we will help your body heal quicker.

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